The Locke Law Group

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana What to do If you are Accused


December 23, 2020

Although Texas has historically taken a hard line on drugs and drug users, San Antonio and Bexar County are a lot more tolerant of marijuana usage and possession. Within the past few years, Bexar County has amended some of its old procedures. One of those changes was the implementation of a “cite and release” policy for those found in possession of marijuana. What that change means is that if you are found in possession the officer will—typically—write you a citation and you will be on your way.  However, that is not the case if you are found driving after you have been smoking marijuana; the extent of Bexar County’s tolerance only extends so far. If you are under the influence of pot, you need to avoid driving but if you get arrested for driving under the influence, you need to know what to do next. You need an attorney with experience in getting Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana cases dismissed. We have secured multiple dismissals for our clients accused of driving under the influence of marijuana during both the pretrial stage and trial stage ending with favorable jury verdicts.

How is Intoxication Defined in Texas?

            In Texas, intoxication is defined as being under the influence of any substance that causes you to lose the normal use of your physical or mental faculties. What the definition really means is that intoxication extends well beyond intoxication via just alcohol. Police officers routinely make arrests for not only driving under the influence of alcohol but also marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine to name a few. The most important question that will be asked by the arresting officer, the prosecutor, and finally, the judge/jury is whether or not the accused lost the “normal” use of their mental or physical faculties following the usage of these types of substances.

What if the Substance is Prescribed?

            Often, people take prescription substances so that they can be returned to “normal.” Whenever you are taking a prescription, you need to read the label carefully. Having a prescription for a specific substance does not inherently bar criminal prosecution if something occurs while under the influence of that substance. If anything, a prescription can be one of the first pieces of evidence against you if there is anything that even remotely mentions using caution when operating heavy machinery or driving after usage of the prescription and that is one of the first things the prosecutor will have at their disposal to use against you. It is on the person taking the prescription to be hyper-aware of any warnings and specific instructions when it comes to taking prescription medicine.

Are There Any Issues Specific to Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana or Other Substances?

            At The Locke Law Group, we have had a great deal of success in defending people against accusations of driving under the influence of marijuana and other substances. This is true for a couple of reasons. First, non-alcohol DWIs require a different level of investigation. They require the police to get an officer who is trained in Drug Recognition. This officer is referred to as a DRE and the San Antonio Police Department simply does not have enough of them. Second, the presence of drugs is inherently more difficult to quantify than alcohol; marijuana can hang out in a person’s system for weeks after usage without influencing how the person behaves and what this does is increase the State’s burden because it has to prove more than the mere presence of the substance. They also have to prove that the substances were actually affecting the driver while they were driving. The State has the burden to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt and unless they can quantify the amount of substances in the person’s system, they will have trouble proving intoxication.

            What Should you Do if You Are Arrested for Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana?

            You need to immediately hire a lawyer. When you are arrested for a DWI for alcohol or marijuana, you have deadlines that need to be met to preserve your rights. You have 14 days to request an ALR hearing and if you don’t make the request, your license will be suspended 40 days after your arrest. If you need an attorney to defend you against a driving under the influence charge, give our experienced trial team a call today.

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I believe that good lawyers are good problem solvers. When someone hires me to represent them I consider it a sacred trust. I take my job seriously because I know how much is on the line.